Friday, February 4, 2011

How the Food Guidelines have changed

Here's a fascinating bit of nutritional history:  The Baltimore Sun has a slide show showing various food guidelines from 1894 to the present.

Look what was recommended in 1943 - notice that there are 2 or more portions of bread and cereal, and 4 or more of fruit and vegetables, other than potatoes:

(click on these images to see them more clearly)

 In 1956, the bread and cereal ration doubled, to 4 or more per day;  they still recommended the same amount of fruit and vegetables, but now potatoes are included:

By 1992, we were being encouraged to eat a whopping 6-11 portions of bread and cereal per day, and the 3-5 vegetable servings include potatoes.  Also, take a look at the key, which shows a little upside down triangle to denote added sugars.  These are included throughout the food pyramid (by the way, you might want to ask yourself why the USDA added refined sugar here at all - was there a nutritional reason for this, or could it have something to do with special interest groups with deep pockets?):

While there isn't any way of determining from the above whether the portion sizes changed at all over the years, isn't it fascinating how bread, cereal, rice and pasta have taken on so much more importance in our diet in the past 60 years or so?

If anything, given how large restaurant portions have become, it's hard to believe  officially recommended portion sizes have declined.  Though if they are smaller today, clearly this hasn't been well communicated to the public at large.

Is it any wonder we have become so carb-addicted as a society?

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